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Afternoon Edition: Sept. 17, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Margaret Healy, a middle school teacher at the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Immaculate Conception-St.Joseph School who tested positive for COVID-19, looks out the window of her Avondale apartment on Tuesday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be sunny with a high near 67 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 53 degrees. Tomorrow will be sunny and a bit cooler, with a high of 63 degrees in the forecast, ahead of weekend full of clear skies.

Top story

A Catholic school teacher went back to school. She got COVID-19 four days later.

Margaret Healy’s first week back in school in her 16th year of teaching started with a panic attack.

Her Catholic school, Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School on the Near North Side, like most others run by the Archdiocese of Chicago, was reopening full-time for in-person instruction during a pandemic. “I woke my husband up at six in the morning and told him I thought I was having a heart attack,” she recalls.

Days later, Healy’s first week ended with a coronavirus diagnosis. She had worn a mask and a face shield each of her four days at school.

Like many teachers and some families with kids in schools run by the Archdiocese, which for months expressed confidence it could safely reopen schools, Healy’s anxiety over resuming in-person learning had been building.

Healy’s father, Patrick, passed away from COVID-19 in an assisted living facility in July. She said goodbye to him over a video call.

Healy, 38, had emailed Archdiocesan administrators her concerns over the summer and heard no response. She blames the Archdiocese for not giving school workers the choice to stay at home and teach remotely: “I felt like I was put between a rock and a hard place,” Healy said. “My choice was kind of like resign or try this out. And I tried it, and this is what happened.

“I like my school. I like my families a lot. Especially in a pandemic, I don’t want to give up the things I know. I know my curriculum, I know what I’m teaching. But you’re forced with this choice, and right now it’s like, well, I feel like I made the wrong choice.”

Neither Healy nor her husband have underlying health conditions, and so far she feels relatively fine — almost two weeks after her first symptoms, she still has a sore throat and a runny nose, but no fever.

Healy, who teaches science and religion in her sixth year at ICSJ, suspects she was infected at school — she had direct contact with someone else there who tested positive for COVID-19, leading her to get tested.

Healy was at school for two orientation sessions Aug. 26 and 28, then classes started the following Monday. She taught for the next four days and felt symptoms that Thursday, Sept. 3, which turned out to be Healy’s last day in school. She tested positive and has been home since.

“I’ve been very careful in general,” Healy said. “Especially because of my dad. I don’t go to restaurants. I don’t see people.”

Read Nader Issa’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. The Chicago Police Department’s 10th District, which includes Little Village, has seen murders more than double so far this year compared to 2019, while at the same time being hit hard by the pandemic. The life — and death — of one man, Florentino Carranza, encapsulates the community’s dual struggle.
  2. Mary Rose Loney became the first woman to serve as Chicago’s aviation commissioner in 1996, taking on clout-heavy contractors who had a long ride on the gravy train at O’Hare and Midway. She died Tuesday at 68.
  3. Jerry Harris of the Netflix show “Cheer” has been arrested on production of child pornography charges, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago said today. Harris allegedly asked for pornographic images and videos from two 14-year-old boys. The boys’ parent found the photos and videos on one of the teen’s phones, the complaint stated.
  4. Chicago’s iconic Southport Lanes bowling alley and billiards parlor is closing permanently after 98 years due to the economic impact brought on by the pandemic. Owner Steve Soble said business had been down 75% since the shutdown.
  5. Striking workers at the University of Illinois Hospital filed complaints Thursday with the city claiming 156 workers are being paid below minimum wage. 20 complaints filed with the Office of Labor Standards allege minimum wage ordinance violations at the hospital, a city spokesman confirmed.

A bright one

ZooLights will go on at Lincoln Park Zoo for the holidays in ticketed event

There’s at least one Chicago holiday tradition you don’t have to worry about missing this year.

The beloved ZooLights festival at Lincoln Park Zoo will indeed be returning despite the coronavirus pandemic, but paid admission will be required.

Celebrate the holiday season this year at Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual ZooLights.

Due to the economic hardship brought on by COVID-19, the zoo is requiring a $5 per person ticket to attend. Tickets will go on sale to the public starting at 10 a.m. Oct 1 at But there will still be several free dates this season: Nov. 24, and Dec. 9, 17, 21 and 29. Reservations are required and limited slots will be released at 4 p.m. the Sunday prior to each free date.

New to the fest is the Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo Enchanted Forest, a wonderland experience combining music, smoke machines, twinkle lights and more. And returning for the second year is “Snowy’s Spirits & S’more” holiday pop-up bar, featuring seasonal cocktails, hot drinks and sweet treats. An additional $3 ticket is required per guest for each.

For more information on the festival, read Miriam Di Nunzio’s full story.

From the press box

An emotional Jon Lester reflected on what might’ve been his final game at Wrigley Field last night: “I didn’t think six years would go this fast,” the left-hander said.

And with the Bears looking to go 2-0 for the first time since 2013, our experts make their predictions for the Week 2 game against the Giants. The Bears won 19-14 when the two teams met in November last year.

Your daily question ☕

We know it’s been a weird one, but what’s something about summer 2020 that you’ll miss?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What are you most looking forward to this fall? Here’s what some of you said…

“Looking forward to construction work going into hibernation.” — Jeremiah Curtis

“Fresh apple cider, warm or cold.” — Cheryl Main McGarry

“Opening the windows to air out my family’s corona quarantine funk.” — Melissa Thomas

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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